Browse Publications Technical Papers 2005-26-073

Designing Telematic Devices to Meet the Functional Requirements of an Increasing Elderly Population 2005-26-073

An increase in the number of elderly drivers presents a new and substantial global challenge to the automotive industry in developing the next generation of automobile and telematic devices to support the driver. Age-related changes in information processing are widely reported in the literature with varying levels of relevance to safe driving. The most significant age-related deficits are associated with visual attention, dual task performance, filtering of irrelevant information, reaction time, motor performance and sequencing, and have their greatest impact on complex road traffic situations where several channels of information must be processed in parallel and at speed. Such deficits are reflected in the driving habits and the type of accidents in which some older drivers are involved. In complex driving conditions most drivers would benefit from some form of in-vehicle assistive device or improvement in automobile design. However, research suggests that for older drivers, the design of some devices and automotive features developed to ease driver workload may in fact increase it. Therefore, more research is needed to ensure that future automobiles and telematic devices are designed to meet the functional requirements of the increasing elderly population.
This paper reports the outcome of an age-related study of simulated driving. The aim of the study was to evaluate scenario specific criteria and thresholds to inform elderly inclusive automobile design, and towards design specification of in-vehicle telematic devices. Young and older drivers were required to turn right through the traffic flow at an urban T-junction during simulated driving with varying levels of complexity. The results of the study highlight the interactive nature of age-related information processing deficits and compensatory driving behaviours, and the challenges associated with specifying elderly inclusive design for safe automobiles and telematic devices. Outcomes also address important issues with regards to road safety and the well-being of older drivers.


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